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We’re taking the inspriation for this week’s column from Aleksandra, a volunteer for AdoptAPet.com (formerly 1-800-SaveAPet.com), who wrote us asking if we could add a link to her organization on our website. Because we’re huge fans of animal rescue, we’re absolutely going to link to AdoptAPet.com. But we’re going to do even more than that! We’re writing this column on animal rescue and creating a whole new section of our links directory for cat rescue groups around the world. We hope you readers will be able to help us add to our rescue directory, too.

Siouxsie: First, let us say that we’re so grateful to all the people involved in the effort to rescue cats, dogs, horses, and other pets and livestock, throughout the world. We’re rescue kitties ourselves, and we know firsthand the great work you do to help us find good homes.

Thomas: Whether you’re an individual person who takes it upon yourself to bring that stray cat in out of the cold and provide her with a loving home, a veterinarian or vet tech, an animal control officer or humane law enforcement officer, a staffer or volunteer at a shelter, a volunteer or employee of an animal disaster relief group, a feral cat TNR volunteer, or any other kind of animal care worker, we salute you.

Dahlia: We know this work isn’t easy. Sometimes–or perhaps almost all the time–it seems like the need is overwhelming, because the cats and dogs never stop arriving at the shelter door and the number of adoptions never quite catches up with the number of animals coming in.

Siouxsie: Some of you work at “kill” shelters and have to spend part of your time euthanizing healthy animals who have been there too long and haven’t found a home. Some of you have seen the results of horrific abuse and neglect on animals. Some of you have had to don biohazard gear and oxygen masks to rescue animals from the home of a hoarder. We can’t even imagine how sad that must be, and we salute you for having the courage and compassion to do what you do every day for the sake of animals like ourselves.

Thomas: As our way of saying “thanks,” we want to do our part to help you help animals.

Dahlia: As we said earlier, all three of us are rescues. I was at the animal shelter when I was a baby, because my kittymama still needed to feed me for a while. When I got big enough to eat on my own, the shelter staff sent me, my brother, and one other kitten to visit with some people who worked in a store. Mama met me there, and it was love at first sight! As soon as she picked me up, I hugged her neck with my paws and started purring like crazy! Well, of course, a day later she adopted me, and I’ve lived happily ever after.

Siouxsie: I was rescued because my kittymama was rescued. She was pregnant and she didn’t have a home, can you believe it? Anyway, this nice lady saw her sitting on the doorstep, realized she was pregnant, and took her in. My kittymama gave birth to us in a warm, safe home, and when we were old enough to eat on our own, she took us to meet Mama. Sinéad and I decided we wanted to live with her, so we stayed. Sometimes I kinda wish Sinéad was still around, but unfortunately she died two years ago. It’s tough, losing a littermate. And no, that’s not a tear! I just got a speck of dust in my eye!

Thomas: And I was at the shelter because my human had gotten really sick and couldn’t take care of me anymore. I was so heartbroken about it that I got very sick, too. Mama first met me when I was in the isolation room. I was so depressed and lonely because I was in there by myself and my whole world had changed so quickly. I had snot all over my nose (I tried to lick it off but I had more snot than energy), I had a fever, and the shelter staff was constantly shoving pills down my throat. But when Mama came along–and she came just to see me!–and she took me out of my cage, I just busted out purring! We fell in love with each other right there. When I got better,  Mama adopted me, and I’m so grateful!

Dahlia: Thomas was three years old when he was adopted. He’s really lucky that Mama was willing to adopt an adult cat. Most of the time, people seem to want kittens and don’t even give the grown-up cats a second look. But an adult cat can be just as wonderful and loving a companion as a kitten. Now, we all know kittens are incredibly cute, but they do tend to get into things. If you’re looking for a feline companion that’s more mellow and laid-back, definitely consider adopting an adult cat.

Siouxsie: Another bonus of adopting from a shelter is that your cat will have already been spayed or neutered, dewormed, and given the vaccinations it needs. The adoption fee you pay is very small compared to the total cost of these services.

Thomas: If you adopt a kitten that’s too young to be fixed, the shelter will give you a voucher to get a free or reduced-price spay or neuter, usually from the veterinarian who takes care of the medical needs at the shelter.

Dahlia: When Mama adopted me from the shelter, they gave her a coupon for a free checkup from one of about a dozen vets in our area, and that was when I first met Doctor Sarah.

Siouxsie: Many local and regional animal shelters work with websites like Petfinder and AdoptAPet.com to get the word out about the cats and dogs at their facilities. The shelter Thomas came from uses Petfinder, for example. These organizations list animals up for adoption in the US and Canada.

Thomas: If you’re looking for a no-kill shelter in the US, Save Our Strays provides what they call a comprehensive directory of no-kill shelters. It may not be truly comprehensive, though, so if you look through the list and you know of a no-kill shelter not mentioned there, they’d love to hear about it.

Dahlia: Save Our Strays also has a huge directory of low-cost spay/neuter services in the US as well.

Siouxsie: The RSPCA runs shelters in the United Kingdom and Australia. I’m sure you readers from those parts of the world are well aware of those organizations, but perhaps those who are just starting to think about doing rescue efforts in their country will be able to find resources and mentoring through the RSPCA.

Thomas: We don’t mean to be so America-centric, but frankly we haven’t been able to find information about rescue groups in other parts of the world.

Dahlia: That means we need your help. We’ve answered questions from readers in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Belgium, South America, Israel, Malaysia, and more, so we hope some of you can help us gather a list of resources outside our own country. Because this is a web column, the most helpful information would be the name of the group, information about what it does, and a link to its website or an e-mail address.

Siouxsie: If you want to give us some information about the state of animal rescue in your country, we’d welcome that too. If we get enough input, we’d like to write a follow-up article on that subject.

Thomas: Did you know there are even rescue organizations for purebred cats? If you’re looking for a purebred cat, Purebred Cat Rescue has a directory of rescue groups by breed. These groups seem to be based primarily in the US, although a few international rescue groups are also listed.

Dahlia: Once again, we give our great and sincere thanks to all the folks all over the world who are working to save stray animals and find good and loving homes for them. And when it comes time for you to adopt a new cat, please consider shelters and/or breed rescues as your first option. We’re so glad Mama did!

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